Welcome to Sail Freighter Fridays! This article is part of a series linked to our new exhibit: "A New Age Of Sail: The History And Future Of Sail Freight In The Hudson Valley," and tells the stories of sailing cargo ships both modern and historical, on the Hudson River and around the world. Anyone interested in how to support Sail Freight should also check out the Conference in November, and the International Windship Association's Decade of Wind Propulsion.
This week's Sail Freighter is the Clipper Ship Dreadnought, one of the most famous of the 19th century on the Atlantic route. Built in 1853 for the Red Cross Line in Newburyport Massachusetts, she was a "Moderate Clipper" built for speed, but of larger tonnage and less racing-like lines when compared to the "Extreme Clippers" like the Cutty Sark. The Dreadnought was 212 feet long and about 1227 Gross Register Tons, and could carry about 2,000 tons of cargo.
The Dreadnought had a reputation for fast passages, most only about two to three weeks, and she set a record between New York and Cork (Then Queenstown) Ireland of just 9 days and 17 hours in 1859. Besides being a fast ship, she was a famous one, and earned a reputation as one of the best packets on the Atlantic. She was fast enough to out-compete steamers of her era, and even carried specialty mails.
The Dreadnought served in the Red Cross Line until she was sold in 1869. She was then assigned a voyage around Cape Horn to San Francisco from New York, and wrecked off the coast of Tierra Del Fuego. She had a relatively short career, if a famous one, of only 16 years, when most sailing vessels were in service for about 25. Despite this, she is still remembered in song and story to this day. Those interested in learning more about the Dreadnought can read the articles linked above which give a good review of her extensive career.
Steven Woods is the Solaris and Education coordinator at HRMM. He earned his Master's degree in Resilient and Sustainable Communities at Prescott College, and wrote his thesis on the revival of Sail Freight for supplying the New York Metro Area's food needs. Steven has worked in Museums for over 20 years.
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This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
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